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Merlin Extralight and Cyrene? Differences?(6 posts)

Merlin Extralight and Cyrene? Differences?Fez
Oct 3, 2003 6:42 AM
Looked at the website - not a lot of technical info on these. Do these bikes ride more like the Seven Axiom and Alaris, respectively? Or do they ride similar to comparable Litespeed models?

And a few questions about Merlin in general:

1) Is Tom Kellogg still a part of the company? I think his picture is still on the main web page.

2) I know they are not the same company as before, but I used to see lots of these locally on group rides in the late 90s. Now I hardly see any. Are they being positioned as a lower-volume, specialty company while the "other" Ti brand gets more marketing power?

They sure are pretty bikes - nice classic tube shapes and classy, understated decals, unlike those nasty yellow ones on some other bikes.
re: Merlin Extralight and Cyrene? Differences?TJeanloz
Oct 3, 2003 6:51 AM
1) Tom Kellogg is still the driving force behind Merlin design. He has never actually been part of the Company, but has always been retained as a design consultant.

2) I think they are being positioned as a niche, high-end brand, which they basically always were. I think the American Bicycle Group thinking is to have Merlin be the sort-of artisan bike of their lineup, with more focus on building really nice bikes that will sell via word of mouth than pushing technology down to consumers via mass advertizing.
Observation -Fez
Oct 3, 2003 6:56 AM
I wrote I observed fewer people on these bikes, whereas 5 years ago I observed far more.

Assuming this is true, do you think it is because Merlin's production has been scaled back by ABG, or is it because Ti bikes are not as cutting edge and sought after now as compared to 5 years ago?
perception problemColnagoFE
Oct 3, 2003 7:16 AM
I think a lot of people associate Merlins today as rebadged Litespeeds--however wrong that may be. In some respects they are probably better than the Merlins of old.
I think there are a few factorsTJeanloz
Oct 3, 2003 7:18 AM
Ti bikes are not the latest and greatest, which they were 5 years ago. They now appeal to a niche consumer, as opposed to everybody wanting one. 6 years ago, the Merlin Extralight was basically the lightest frame on the market - and durable besides. The trend of lightweight aluminum, which really began with Pantani winning the Giro/Tour double in 1998, and lightweight carbon, which coincides with the Lance era, has really replaced the ti era.

Also, I think ABG is better able to control sales of Merlin because they don't have the cash constraints that old Merlin (or even Merlin under Saucony) had. They don't have to build a low-end frame (the RSR). They don't have to sell inventory dirt cheap to raise cash. I think they want their image to go in the direction of Seven - a bike that you rarely see. Let's face it, there is a group of people who want their bike to be a unique object that others drool over - and I believe ABG wants Merlin to be that bike again (which it once was).
Observation -tarwheel
Oct 3, 2003 10:58 AM
I've noticed the same thing. Most of the Merlins I see are several years old, rarely new ones. It's too bad Litespeed decided to market Merlins to the elite/wealthy. They are one of the few stock American frames with a geometry that suits me, but I could order a custom Spectrum from Tom Kellogg for about the same price. Merlins are one of the few stock frames with an extended head tube (along with Pegoretti). I am surprised that more manufacturers don't pick up on this because I rarely ever see a new bike without tons of spacers and/or riser stems -- something most could avoid if manufacturers would adopt their frame designs to threadless technology.